A Pair of Red Clogs
We had a fun week of learning as we rowed A Pair of Red Clogs by Masaka Matsuno. I chose it because we’ve been reading The Japanese Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins, which Ian has really enjoyed, though I’ve had some reservations. (See my notes at the end of this post.)*
In keeping with one of the themes in the book, we spent quite a bit of time discussing honesty. We read The Value of Honesty: The Story of Confucius by Spencer Johnson, as well as a poem called “The Boy Who Never Told a Lie” from The Book of Virtues (p.601) by William J. Bennett. Our Bible memory verse for the week was Proverbs 12:22. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”
We discussed several of the lessons in the Five in a Row manual Vol. 1 throughout the week, and for the first time, we attempted the art lesson. Art has not been one of Ian’s strengths, and I’ve held off on even attempting any of the lessons because he struggled even with basic coloring and drawing. However, I have intentionally made art instruction a part of our Kindergarten “curriculum” this year, and on the weeks that we include a FIAR book, I want to try to do the art lessons. The one for A Pair of Red Clogs was pretty simple, and Ian and I were both quite pleased with the way his picture turned out.
We spent a lot of time this week learning about Japan. Both boys enjoyed playing a memory matching game using the continent cards I made from part of the Grandfather’s Journey lapbook on HomeSchoolShare. (Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say, also set in Japan, is another book used in FIAR Vol. 1, but Ian was really resistant to the story for some reason, and I didn’t want to push a book he wasn’t interested in. He did, however, enjoy reading Tree of Cranes, also by Allen Say. I made an origami crane and all three kids were fascinated by it.) The boys also put together our GeoPuzzle of Asia. (I bought the complete set last year when they were on sale at Timberdoodle.com, but it’s the first time we’ve gotten one out.) We watched Big Bird in Japan on YouTube, and then later in the week we watched two episodes of 19 Kids and Counting: Duggars Do Asia. Both boys really enjoyed watching the Duggars explore Tokyo (available free on iTunes under Volume 8) and Kyoto. These shows provided a fascinating look at some of the unique aspects of Japanese culture.
They also reminded me of our international coin collection, and I went digging through the coins to see if I could find some Japanese yen (which I identified with help from Wikipedia). All three kids LOVE playing with coins, and we were able to look at how the numbers are the same as our numbers whereas the characters are very different from our letters. I used that as an opportunity to go to a website that translates your name into Japanese katakana characters. Ian thought it was so interesting, we ended up looking up the names of everyone in our family, our cousins, and the neighbors.
The one thing we didn’t do that I had wanted to was a science activity about making rain that I found on another blog. Maybe someday we’ll get around to this one, because I think it’s a great way of teaching about the water cycle. Still, we had a pretty full week, and everyone learned a lot and had fun doing it, so I’d say it was a successful row!
* The Japanese Twins depicts the traditional Japanese view of women and girls. I was pretty uncomfortable reading the chapter where the father tells the little girl she must obey her baby brother and tells her to bow down while he puts the baby’s foot on her neck to show his authority over her. It gave us an opportunity for discussion, I suppose, as did the chapter where they went to the temple and worshiped a goddess. When I started to ask Ian about that one, he pretty much led the discussion. Having just studied the 10 Commandments, he had a frame of reference, so it wasn’t a big deal.